Here, there, everywhere
Trying to keep track of Brad Richardson last season was a bit like a Kings version of “Where’s Waldo?”
Where’s Richardson? Depending on the day, week, injuries or position of the moon, Richardson could have been found anywhere from the first line to the fourth line, playing left wing or center, and that type of movement is unlikely to dramatically change this season.
Richardson has started out camp on a potential fourth line, playing left wing next to center Trevor Lewis and right winger Kevin Westgarth. But Richardson, who had 11 goals and 16 assists in 81 games last season, could end up elsewhere before long, coach Terry Murray said.
“Yeah, I wouldn’t look too hard at that one,” Murray said of Richardson’s training-camp line. “Again, I’m looking at (Scott) Parse. I want to give him a great opportunity. I know Richardson had that role last year, the utility player to move around, kind of like Peter Harrold. Richie is where he is right now. He’s just going to work through training camp, and if anybody slips, I know that he can play center, he can play left wing, and he’s a very versatile, good player to have. He’s going to contribute on the penalty killing. He’s an important player to have.”
Richardson, who is 25 and entering his sixth NHL season (third with the Kings) is still looking for a regular position and role in the NHL, but said he’s not frustrated by the frequent movement. For now, he’s just going where he’s told, and said he hasn’t really spoken with Muray about what role he might fill this season.
“To be honest, we haven’t had a whole lot of talk yet,” Richardson said. “I assume that will come in the near future. I’ll just do whatever I can, and wherever I fit in, that’s fine. I’ll just work hard to be a good teammate and hopefully work my way up.
“I feel comfortable at any position, any of the three forward positions, so wherever I end up, that’s fine with me.”
Richardson made huge strides as a two-way player last season and even gave the Kings some quality games on the first line. Richardson’s career high for goals is 14, and if he can boost his goal total a bit from last season, the Kings would benefit greatly.
“I tried to work on my skating and quickness,” Richardson said of his summer work. “It feels good, but you can always try to get better at that. Also my strength. I’m trying to create some stuff out of the corners more often, more offense. A lot of shootings. You try to work on everything, but there’s a bit difference when you get to camp. It’s a lot more intense. It’s something you try to train for, but when you get back here, that’s when the work really begins.”